Behind the deal with Potloc | The next evolution of consumer insights

Posted by Jacques Perreault on Nov 14, 2019

We are excited to partner with Rodolphe Barrere and Louis Delaoustre on their journey to transform the way retail businesses survey their existing and potential customers. Using an innovative proprietary methodology, Potloc’s platform gathers rich qualitative insights that are geo-targeted, unbiased, and at a fraction of the cost of traditional survey methods.

HQ: Montreal, QC

Founders: Rodolphe Barrere and Louis Delaoustre

Investment: Series A. This round of financing was led by Brightspark Ventures, alongside CapHorn, Desjardins Capital, Ecofuel and Investissement Quebec.

The rise of customer-centric retail experiences – and the missing link.

It’s no secret that most retail industries are being challenged by Amazon as well as emerging direct-to-consumer online brands. As a result, we see the rise of hyper-individualized experiences as a way for retailers to attract and retain consumers.

Consumers today expect the buying of goods to be an experience that is both engaging and deeply personalized. For example, Sobeys, the Canadian grocery chain giant, customizes their product offering for each local community that they serve. Consumer-centric companies are coming out on top, which means that getting actionable insights is a top priority in order to compete. On average, every large retail store worldwide has an annual budget of $10,000-20,000 dedicated to consumer insights.

Sadly, that budget is often spent on ineffective “old-school” survey methods such as email and cold calling. Because they rely on an initial contact, these practices also ignore a valuable part of the equation: the “non-customer”. It’s very difficult - almost impossible - for physical retailers to know why people aren’t buying their product or shopping at their location.

Brands see customer surveys as an expensive necessary evil that produces inaccurate, non-actionable, and biased results. We see a market that is ripe for disruption!

The solution: A new way to attract motivated responders

Potloc is redefining customer surveys by capturing feedback when and where users are the most likely to respond: during down-time on social media platforms.

Leveraging proprietary technology, Potloc uses geo-targeting to serve deeply customized surveys: they can determine topics that a user cares about, and when they are the most likely to answer. Geo-targeting also enables brands to gain insights from their “non-customer” - valuable feedback that they didn’t have access to before.

This hyper-personalized approach leads to an impressive 10% survey conversion rate, miles ahead of traditional methods. Potloc is able to generate rich qualitative answers without offering any incentive, at a fraction of the cost of traditional survey methods.

Today, the company’s technology is being used by over 110 of the world’s leading brands and some of the biggest real estate owners. With this new round of financing, Potloc aims to further its global expansion, grow the team, and make improvements to the technology product.

“Traditional research methods have failed to adapt to today’s consumer’s behaviour. This funding is an indication that investors understand how our technology is leading the evolution of consumer research, and that Potloc provides its clients more accurate and hyper-targeted consumer insights, faster than ever before,” said Rodolphe Barrere, Co-founder and CEO at Potloc.

Pictured: Eleonore Jarry-Ferron (Investments, Brightspark) with Rodolphe Barrere (CEO, Potloc)

Brightspark’s investment in Potloc

Venture capital is a business of nurtured relationships - and our first contact with Potloc goes back half-a-decade. The first time we met Rodolphe and Louis, they were merely out of University!

We immediately recognized their passion, and it was clear that they had the vision to build a massive company. At the time, the company was at a stage too early for an investment from Brightspark. Nevertheless, we decided to keep in touch with the founders, and spent years following them, getting regular updates and monitoring the company's pivots.

We continued to be impressed by the team’s dedication, consistent delivery on strategy, and their ultra-focused vision for the company. More importantly, Rodolphe and Louis have proven over the years their capacity to pivot successfully, to attract top talent, and to surround themselves with experienced mentors.

The company finally approached us at a stage where it checked all of Brightspark’s boxes: solid technology, intelligent company positioning, and timely market opportunity. We have found that this mix of elements is an essential base to build a world-class organization.

Moreso, Potloc represents a sweet spot for us: “second-generation” disruption. Beyond the simple digitization of a product or service (for example, transitioning from paper to online questionnaires), we seek to invest in companies who dare to completely rethink how something can be done (in their case, proactively geo-targeting to survey even the non-shoppers). We believe that it’s these ambitious companies that have the power to redefine industries and become market leaders.

Pictured: Rodolphe Barrere (CEO, Potloc) and Jacques Perrault (Senior Partner, Brightspark)

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